Some thoughts on material possessions (Part 2)

A few years ago I wrote a blog here on KNI regarding material possessions and recent events in the world, as well as my own personal life, have prompted me to revisit the topic.

First, let me tell you what’s been going on in my personal life.

It kind of got started back in September when my mother died. At the time she died, she had been living for several years in a house owned by my sister, and this house was crammed absolutely full of all kinds of “stuff” that my mother had accumulated over the course of her 73 years on this planet. After a period of mourning, my sister began sifting through all this stuff and was astounded by some of the things she found. They included plenty of things that were of no use whatsoever to anyone, but also many things which my mother had kept packed away in boxes for years, some of which were very useful.

In the end, after discussing it with me and a few cousins we’ve stayed in touch with over the years, my sister decided to send anything she thought anyone might want to those people (this included mostly photographs and was probably less than 5% of the total) sold off those things which someone else might possibly use but which my sister didn’t have any further use for, and the rest she simply took to the city dump.

Watching this process from afar got me thinking about my own accumulation of worldly possessions. I just moved my family into the apartment we’re now living in about three years ago, and in the process of moving out of our old place, I’d gotten rid of quite a bit of stuff. But in just these three short years…well, anyway, I’ve spent the last few months going through all our stuff and getting rid of a lot of it. Some I just threw away, but many things I discovered were still useful, just not to me.

You see, I’ve got two little boys living in my house, and they grow out of clothes very quickly. They also get tired of their old toys, books, etc. after awhile. Happily, I attend a congregation with a lot of young families, several of which have boys a few years younger than mine, so it’s been pretty easy finding families to pass along the clothes, toys, books, etc. that my sons have outgrown but which still have some useful life left in them.

Thanks to this process, my home is now much more clean and orderly than it was when I started sorting through all this stuff, and I can take some satisfaction in having blessed other families in my community.

That brings me to what’s going on in the wider world, which is a rather large topic so I’ll just focus on one aspect of it for the purposes of this blog.

Many people all over the world are facing tough economic times. The instinct at a time like this is to tighten belts, batten down hatches, and above all else, hold on tight to all of our “stuff” and our money. But I think that’s exactly the wrong thing to do.

My mother kept lots of stuff she didn’t need and when she died, she lost it all. That happens to everyone, but what happened to her was even a little bit worse because she not only lost all that stuff when she died, she also lost the opportunity while she was still alive to bless other people by giving them some of the stuff that she no longer needed but which they could have used. She also burdened herself unnecessarily because she had to store all that stuff and on top of that, she also moved several times during her life but kept all that stuff through all those moves, wasting huge amounts of time and money by doing so.

So, brothers and sisters, what I think I’m saying here is that in this season of history we’re in, more so even than in previous seasons, the lifestyle known as “minimalism” makes a lot of sense. One of the side benefits of living in a community of Believers and attending a local congregation is that it provides you with lots of opportunities to bless people with “stuff” and extra money that other people might need more than we do. It’s exactly like being part of a large extended family, and this can be a great help to many people in getting through tough economic times and building relationships which will continue into the good times, if they ever come back.

That’s what I’ve got for you this week brothers and sisters. I hope it blessed someone.